Spencer Strider


Spencer Strider


Getty

Spencer Strider will undergo an MRI on his elbow following his second start of the season.

The Atlanta Braves faced the Arizona Diamondbacks in their home opener on April 5. The Braves had their ace Spencer Strider on the mound, but after his night was cut short the Braves have reason for concern. Strider will undergo an MRI on April 6, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.

Strider pitched just four innings and allowed five earned runs, seven hits and three walks. His “velocity was down,” according to USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale.

“Yeah, well, yeah I thought this was one of those nights and he came in and he was complaining about his elbow, so he’s going to get an MRI in the morning and find out what’s going on,” said Braves manager Brian Snitker, according to Bally Sports.


Strider’s Short Outing

Strider lasted just four innings in the Braves home opener. Despite a walk-off win, the Braves have plenty to worry about. Strider has already undergone Tommy John surgery once in his career. He underwent the surgery in 2019 when he played at Clemson University.

In 2023, Strider finished fourth in the National League Cy Young Award voting. He had just three outings where he pitched four innings or less. Of his 32 starts, he allowed five earned runs or more just five times.

“Strider’s fastball averaged 95.9 mph on Friday. This pitch averaged 96.7 mph during last week’s season debut against the Phillies and 97.2 mph over the 2023 season,” Bowman wrote.

Strider complained about his elbow after his outing was already over.

“He was kind of uncomfortable with how he was feeling so they examined him here and they’re going to get more, an MRI, done tomorrow,” said Snitker.


Losing Strider Would be a Huge Blow to the Braves

Strider was one of the best pitchers in the majors last season. His 20 wins and 281 strikeouts led all pitchers. His phenomenal season earned him an All-MLB First Team selection.

Outside of Strider, the Braves rotation currently consists of Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Chris Sale and Reynaldo López.

“The Braves have multiple options to choose from if they need to promote someone from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill Strider’s rotation spot. Dylan Dodd would be on regular rest if the Braves choose to have him fill Strider’s spot against the Mets on Wednesday,” Bowman wrote.

The best-case scenario for the Braves is that Strider is dealing with discomfort and won’t miss much time. However, they will need their other starters to step up should Strider miss time or the remainder of the season.

The Braves could also call on Bryce Elder or AJ Smith-Shawver who made starts for the club in 2023.

Elder made 31 starts in 2023 and was named an All-Star. He pitched to a 12-4 record and a 3.81 ERA. However, Elder was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett after he gave up 11 earned runs and 15 hits in 12 innings for an 8.25 ERA during spring training.

Smith-Shawver had a 4.26 ERA in six starts for the Braves. 2023 was his first season in the majors, but he began 2024 in Triple-A.

The Braves offense may be good enough to overcome shaky pitching while Strider recovers. However, the loss of Strider for the entire season would be tough to make up for.

Aaliyan Mohammed covers Major League Baseball for Heavy.com. He previously contributed to MLB Pipeline, covering MLB prospects during the Arizona Fall League and Winter League seasons, as well as Wisconsin Sports Heroics. More about Aaliyan Mohammed





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